Tag: garden

Wordless Wednesday: Making Progress or Futile Effort

Hey, I *could* have a flock of pink flamingos….

Originally I was going to do a post titled “Reduce, reuse, recycle” featuring this planter created from more or less “found” elements…. coupled with details on how I re-use last year’s potting soil with a bit of a mad scientist approach involving fresh potting soil, compost, organic fertilizer, alfalfa pellets and some really grubby, dirty hands. Or how I use the styrofoam packing peanuts to fill the bottom of planters.

Sure, I used an old golf cart found in my parent’s garage, and a very old golf bag. And I do mix up my own potting soil. And, I did save and use the packing peanuts – usually checking to make sure they are styrofoam, rather than corn starch which melts with water, to fill the bottom of large containers

But then, when I posted a picture on facebook of my finished product, my brother commented, “what will the neighbors think”. You see, I live in an established, somewhat conservative, upper middle class suburb of Milwaukee. We did what I think was a brilliant thing – buying the least expensive house in the best neighborhood possible. What we didn’t do was the expected tear down/rebuild or massive remodel/new addition. Instead we are tackling tiny project after tiny project ourselves.  The result of which has been comments from our neighbor that our purchase price is “bringing the neighborhood property values down”, or in seeing we were doing landscaping ourselves comments about hiring a professional.

So maybe my neighbor won’t like my golf bag planter. But I sure do! We got the original idea back in 2004 when we attended the PGA Championship at Kohler. There on the streets of Manitowoc, WI was this planter….

Ever since, we’d said we’d have a golf planter. Finally made that a reality. My version:

I think it’ll get better as it fills out and grows. Oh the plants – in the top: Phormium ‘Jester’, Cuphea cyanea ‘Caribbean Sunset’, Cascade Centradenia, and ‘Aloha Red’ calibrachoa. Lower front pocket (with ball) Sanvitalia ‘Sunbini’, back pocket, sorry, lost the tag, maybe a santolina?

In other ghetto gardening news. A couple of weeks ago I saw these great painted trellises and tomato hoops at a local garden center. 
LOVED them, but not the cost. Instead I bought 12 tomato hoops from Menards and four cans of paint. For the cost of two of the garden center versions, I have a dozen. Set up a little spray paint assembly line of one of our bare spots, and went to town.

Have three each purple, blue, yellow and green to add to my driveway container vegetable garden.

I think they will be quite cool. 
And if the neighbor has a problem with these, I guess I could remind him it could be worse….I could follow the example of this homeowner I saw on today’s Ride for the Arts.

Wait until next year when I finally get my bottle tree…………

Wordless Wednesday: Our next generation of gardener

Passalong Plants

One of the many garden books on my shelf is ‘Passalong Plants’ by Steve Bender and Felder Rushing. The book focuses on old plants that are not commercially propagated, but instead move from garden to garden by way of generosity between fellow gardeners. The sharing of plants among gardeners not only provides a cheap source of plants for the garden, it also provides an outlet for the pieces and divisions we cull from the garden. Many plants benefit from being divided, or need to be kept in check because they’ve spread out of their intended spot. It’s hard for the gardener to just toss these divisions into the compost pile – and goodness knows we can’t just keep creating new beds to place the spare plants (been there, done that, trying not to do it again).

Whether old garden favorites or divisions of new cultivars, passalong plants add an extra bit of depth to our gardens, along with a connection to our fellow gardeners.

My Mother’s Day post mentioned the plants I was taking from my Mom’s garden. The ferns that I first used in an early apartment garden over twenty years. Corydalis lutea that was originally sent to me by an on-line friend 15 years ago. Daylilies I’ve used in two previous gardens. Divisions of several variety of lamium, perhaps a hosta or two. Shortly after posting that entry one of my cousins commented on facebook, “Many of us have parts from your mom’s garden.” Received an email from another cousin, “Our yard looks amazing because she allowed us to dig in her yard last year.” I thought about those comment and realized they’re right. Countless people have pieces of my Mom’s garden growing in their own.

I am fortunate to be part of a small group of women who met in the mid-90’s on the CompuServe Garden Forum, and have remained in contact since. We’ve traveled together on informal garden touring trips, shared plant and garden tips both publicly in forums and privately via email. Shared struggles in our gardens and in our lives. One of my favorite memories was a plant swap in a hotel hallway in Charleston, SC. We’d each driven or flown in with plants, seeds and cuttings from our own gardens. An enjoyable couple of hours was spent discussing, swapping, and indulging our obsession with plants. In our case we don’t stick to just the old varieties of plants, and admit to being just a tad excited by hot new cultivars. I loved having those plants in my garden, but in the move to this house left them all behind.

Because of this, I was thrilled to receive a box from one of these friends stuffed with plants. Nancy gave me a great start to a shade garden. Several hostas, pulmonaria, a variegated Brunnera, Chelone ‘Hot Lips, more and more. So much fun going through the box and determining where I would put what.

To add to the excitement were the plants she’d included from other members of the group’s gardens.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of the plants passed from one gardener to another is the connection to each other these plants provide. And the smile they bring on the morning or evening walks through the garden by jolting the memory of friends far and wide.

Wordless Wednesday: Before and After part 2: My first shade garden

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